Champions seemed great in beta. With everything else going on in the gaming world and the fact that your beta characters would be wiped at launch, I didn't really delve too deeply into the game because I wanted to save enough of the content for playing the game I'd paid for. I tried about 7 different power sets and played up to about level 15 a few times, but left the rest for Live.
At my current rate, I might end up not seeing that content anyway.
Sure, part of that is because of all the time I'm spending in LoL, along with the necessity that I now log into WoW every day to get my goddamn triumph emblems from the daily heroic. Thanks so much Blizzard, for the privilege of having to do that annoying daily grind of faceroll content just to keep up with current raiding. I hate you so much.
Add to that the fact that my 10-man WoW guild is currently dying in a fire against Mimiron hard mode (mastered the first 3 phases, hopefully get phase 4 down tonight!) while exploiting the cheap gear-reset known as Trial of the Crusader (or it is Champion? I can never remember) for all its worth. It takes us less time to clear that place than it takes to fly from there back to Ulduar where the real content still is. These Triumph Emblem vendors outside ToC are very accurately named:
Glad you find this phoned-in, anti-casual (forced to log in every day) patch hilarious, Blizz. You better really enjoy the recliner you've made out of my money.
But the competition isn't the only reason I'm not playing Champions half as much as I expected. I still love the character creator, love the ideas behind picking your powers, and find the game mostly fun. But a lot of problems are cropping up that are keeping me from even getting to 25 to try out my Nemesis (who should have been available from level 10 or so, frankly).
1. Account Problems
First of all, there was a screw-up in the Champions database where some accounts conveniently forgot that they had been activated by a product key. And Cryptic didn't really say anything about this, or respond to the numerous forum threads about it. It took a service ticket on their website and finally a follow-up phone call to get my girlfriend's account re-activated, since the system would no longer accept her product key because, well, obviously it had already been used. My account worked even though we both entered our keys side by side exactly the same way, while sitting in the same room, and were both able to play on day 1. When we tried to play again on day 3 (this was well before that "early start keys no longer work" thing on the 6th, so that's not the culprit), suddenly hers didn't work anymore. I chose not to play out of solidarity while we waited for a response from their website, and the 3 days of waiting seriously sapped our enthusiasm about the game. It's hard to commit to an MMO after a mistake like that.
It took a phone call a few days later to finally get it fixed. To Cryptic's credit, there was zero wait for a representative and she was extremely polite and helpful and got the account up and running in a matter of minutes. But playing the game you paid for should not require a phone call.
2. CO's "action-oriented" engine can't handle it when you hold a key down
CO is supposed to be a more action-ey MMO. So how come the controls just completely break down when you try to time a block or use a "charged" or "maintained" power that requires keeping a key pressed? Almost every other battle the following will happen:
1) I hold down the 4 key to activate my maintained attack.
2) Nothing happens
3) I notice and let go of the button
4) I hold down the button again
5) The power activates for half a second as though I had tapped the key, putting the ability on cooldown while doing almost no damage, because it wasn't "maintained."
If I HOLD DOWN the key twice and the game thinks I tapped it once, it fails. This happens constantly, about half the powers require you hold a key, and I've heard it mentioned by every reviewer or blogger who has talked about the game. It's a universal error, and inexcuseable in a game where all you do is fight.
3. The quest gap
There aren't enough quests in the game to cover your entire leveling experience. "So what?" you say, "just grind mobs!"
Except the game is balanced such that, for example, a quest will give 5,000 xp while a mob gives 10. You do the math about how many mobs I need to grind to cover for one missing quest.
I thought this was a great idea in beta, because it discouraged grinding. It would have been a great idea if there was enough content to get you to 40.
4. Repetitition, followed by repeating rehashes
Making multiple characters is the fun of the game! Getting new powers and trying them out is a blast!
None of that matters because you have to do the exact same content every single time! If I have to do the tutorial again, I'm going to kill myself! Powers are doled out so slowly it makes people waiting in line at the DMV feel bad for you!
So we don't log in much, when faced on our mains with the prospect of scrounging for what few quests we can find with the next big carrot (nemesis) still seeming so far away and our powers only occassionally actually working anyway. We could go play one of those other characters we so excitedly designed in the creator, but then we'd have to grind through the same boring content again.
The honeymoon with Champions is already over - but I'm not looking for a divorce. However, I am afraid that one day I'll wake up and forget I ever met her.
It's looking like I'll let my sub lapse at the end of the month, but I don't yet regret my purchase. I strongly suspect that I'll come back to the game a few months from now, after patches fill in some of the gaps, turning this into the game it should have been at release. In the meantime, I just can't fit it in between WoW, LoL, and now Aion.
I'm sorry if anyone bought the game partly based on my recommendation and was disappointed. The first 20 or so hours of playing with the character creator and seeing the early content for the first time IS a blast, and I still really like the game. It's just not quite winning in the competition for my gaming time right now, but I expect it will again in the future.